Angélica Garcia at The Castle

Johnny James, Managing Editor
Carlos Garcia

Angélica Garcia at Castle Hotel, Manchester 11 June 2024 Tickets from £10.00 — Book now

LA-based experimental pop artist Angélica Garcia is playing at The Castle this summer, in support of her latest cumbia-inspired music.

Like Lorde, Billie Eilish and Rosalía, Angelica Garcia isn’t afraid to stretch the limits of the electronic pop music format, while tearing pages out of her diary and expressing emotions that can be daunting to share.

Garcia was raised by her Mexican and El Salvadoran family in El Monte, California, just east of the City of Los Angeles, where she now resides. Following studies in creative writing and vocal jazz, she was snapped up by Warner Bros for her debut record, Medicine for Birds (2016). Its music pulled in wildly different directions while the lyrics offered a blend of old-timey formalism and magical storytelling about fleeing the nest and shedding expectations. The New York Times called it “a lovely, intense album that’s deliciously unfaithful to the roots and country music that inspired it”.

Replete with towering, hypnotic vocals, Cha Cha Palace followed on Spacebomb Records in 2020, and found Garcia confronting a lifetime of feeling split between two identities. “I see you, but you don’t see me Jímaca, Jímaca, Guava Tree…I’ve been trying to tell ya, but you just don’t see, like you I was born in this country”, Garcia sings on the track ‘Jícama’, expressing the reality for millions of Americans unapologetically and with passion. ‘It Don’t Hinder Me’ is another anthem celebrating Garcia’s roots, blending Wall of Sound pop and Southern rock. But perhaps the album’s highlight is ‘Karma The Knife’, a Reaggeaton-meets-dancehall earworm exploring the depths of human nature and the consequences of our actions.

Released via Partisan Records, Garcia’s latest, cumbia-inspired music leans in a more spiritual direction, exploring religion, heritage, womanhood, grief and healing, within the context of a slow-building hurricane of electronic pop. Produced by Chicano Batman’s Carlos Arévalo, ‘Y Grito’ and ‘El Que’ mark Garcia’s first music sung entirely in her native tongue of Spanish, the one in which she learned to sing rancheras with her family as a child. The tracks are searing and borderless, free of cultural confinement and challenging the notion that singing in English is a prerequisite for creating American music.

‘Juanita’ is a culmination of her new inquiry into ancestral veneration, while tackling grief head-on. “Many cumbias have lyrics about pain and longing”, Garcia says. “My intention was for the tension and confusion in the song to feel like remembering a past life. I wanted to capture what the shadow side of grief does to us.” ‘Color D Dolor’, the latest and possibly final single from a forthcoming album entitled Gemelo, follows suit, and conveys Garcia’s belief that “grief is nuanced, and sometimes pain can be intertwined with beauty”.

Winning praise from Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and NPR, and securing tours with Mitski, Vagabon and the legendary Blonde Redhead, Angélica Garcia is slowly amassing a following around the world, and yet her show in Manchester is a very intimate one, at the 80-capacity Castle Hotel on Oldham Street. It’s certainly up there with the gigs we’re most looking forward to in early summer.

Angélica Garcia at Castle Hotel, Manchester 11 June 2024 Tickets from £10.00 Book now

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